A Tribute to Sam Beall of Blackberry Farm

February 26, 2016

We were so saddened to hear the news that Sam Beall, the proprietor of Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, passed away last night in a skiing accident, leaving behind his wife and five children. Few things are as tragic as learning that a life has been lost far too soon, but Beall and Blackberry are both unforgettable.

Blackberry Farm

As anyone who's set foot on Blackberry Farm knows, it is a fairytale place—the embodiment of respite and idyll set on 4,000 acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Beall was born there, as it was originally his parents' business before he took over, and is attributed with growing Blackberry into a place so profoundly inviting that there are no more accolades for it to win.

Beall's employees bubble over in praise of him—even to guests, as our Director of Events Francesca Andreani recalls from a recent visit: "We went truffle hunting and the director told us the whole story about how Sam started that program; he raved about him the whole time.

Anyone who met him understood why.

Shop the Story

"He greeted me and spoke to me like I was a relative he hadn’t seen in a few years," remembers our Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur, who met him during a visit to Blackberry last year. "It was sort of astounding... It took me less than ten seconds, about the duration of our conversation, to understand why he was running one of the most successful hospitality businesses in the country."

Beall was more than a proprietor; he was as hospitable as the nature of his business, and we know we are among countless who are thankful for what he accomplished in his life.

We invite you to leave a story or a note in the comments if you've ever visited Blackberry or crossed paths with Sam Beall.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lauretta
  • Susan
  • Carole
  • Kelly
  • ChefJune
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Lauretta February 29, 2016
Deepest condolences to the Beall family. This is our favorite place. We're going there in a couple of weeks. Won't be the same without Sam.
Susan February 26, 2016
My husband and I have visited Blackberry Farm countless times, before and after Sam took over the property. He was a visionary, exceptional gentleman, and will be missed by all he has touched. Deepest condolences to the Beall family, Mary Celeste, their five children, and to the tight knot staff/family at Blackberry Farm. We are keeping our March plans to visit, but will be missing Sam.
Carole February 26, 2016
I have had the pleasure of being at Blackberry Farm for many events. Sam always opened a gathering g by saying, "Welcome to my home " it just won't be the same without his brilliance & brightness! Prayers go out to Kreis, Sandy, Mary Celeste and their five children.
Kelly February 26, 2016
Blackberry Farm has been a bucket list item for several years. I have never been not did I have the privilege of meeting Sam Beall. However, because of a video that Sam had on the Blackberry Farm website, I learned how to pronounce Le Creuset. A simple memory in the grand scheme of it all, but his loss will be felt by many. Praying that love, light, and strength guide his family and friends during this time.
ChefJune February 26, 2016
This is a tragedy of epic proportions. I've never visited Blackberry Farm but I've met Sam on numerous occasions. Sending my deepest sympathy to his family - both personal and the Blackberry Farm family.